This project will suck up billions that ought to be invested in reducing demand and developing renewables

The French energy giant EDF today finally decided to go ahead with Hinkley C . It may be a disaster for the largely state-owned company. If the British government now gives the nod to the first round of subsidies, it will surely be a disaster for British energy policy. This is not an untested model – worse than that. Its two sister stations, currently under construction in Finland and France, are overdue and over budget. Hinkley is predicted to cost £18bn to build, and it will cost consumers upwards of £30bn to run. It will displace billions of pounds of investment that could otherwise be spent reducing demand and developing renewable alternatives. The new prime minister and her ministers at the Department of Business and Energy, Greg Clark and Nick Hurd, should use the prerogative of a new government: stop it, now.

The justification for Hinkley C, originally conceived under Labour in 2008 and signed off by the coalition in 2011, is that when it finally comes on stream, perhaps in 2025, it will provide a large amount of carbon-free energy generation – 7% of total demand, which cannot be met by the weather-dependent energy that comes from renewables such as wind or solar. It will be a vital contribution to the UK’s low-carbon energy target. It looks like a bold solution to a big problem.

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Source: Guardian Environment